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Andrew J. Dannenberg, MD

Henry R. Erle, MD-Roberts Family Professor of Medicine
Associate Director of Cancer Prevention
Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center
Weill Cornell Medical College
New York, New York

Current Research

  • Seeking to understand the underlying association of obesity with increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Studies are focused on understanding the causes of breast inflammation and its impact on breast cancer risk in average weight women.
  • Uncovering the hidden risk in normal weight women will lead to better risk prediction and preventive strategies.

Obesity is known to increase the risk of breast cancer later in life. Understanding the biological underpinnings of this association will help guide interventions as well as identify women at risk. Work by Dr. Dannenberg has shown that breast inflammation plays a role in promoting tumor development and that even normal-weight women with inflammation may be at risk. His BCRF research is focused on developing non-invasive ways to detect inflammation in normal-weight women and developing effective preventive interventions.

Full Research Summary

Obesity is a risk factor for the development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer after menopause and is associated with poor outcomes in breast cancer patients. Chronic inflammation increases the risk of developing numerous other malignancies, and Dr. Dannenberg's laboratory was the first to link obesity with breast inflammation and the development and progression of breast cancer. His group also reported that breast inflammation is associated with a worse clinical course in patients who developed metastasis.
The focus of his BCRF-supported research is to determine the molecular mechanisms of this relationship with the goal of reducing breast cancer risk with targeted interventions. His laboratory has recently shown that menopause also influences breast inflammation and is currently pursuing studies to explain this effect. Importantly, this work led to the discovery that some average-weight women have hidden breast inflammation with associated insulin resistance and possibly an increased risk of breast cancer. Indeed, excess body fat is associated with a doubling of the risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer in normal sized postmenopausal women.
Given these findings, Dr. Dannenberg's current project is focused on defining the mechanisms by which obesity-related inflammation impacts breast cancer and developing non-invasive tests to determine if a woman has hidden breast inflammation. This is important because performing biopsies is not practical for making this diagnosis.


Andrew J. Dannenberg, MD is the Henry R. Erle, MD-Roberts Family Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also Director of Cancer Prevention at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell. Dr. Dannenberg received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and served as a medical resident and fellow at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He has authored more than 150 scientific articles, as well as edited several books and journals. In 2011, Dr. Dannenberg was awarded the American Association for Cancer Research-Prevent Cancer Foundation award for excellence in cancer prevention research. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP), the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Grid Researcher Headshot - Dannenberg A

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Bloomingdale's Award

Area(s) of Focus